Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Act leadership contenders speak

John Boscawen. Photo / Mark Mitchell
John Boscawen. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Act leadership contender John Boscawen tonight acknowledged disgraced former MP and colleague David Garrett for his three strikes legislation.

"I have told David that while he paid a huge personal price for his time in Parliament, the three strikes law would not have been passed without him and he should take comfort from the fact that there will be New Zealanders alive in 30 years time who might otherwise have been murdered but for the fact that he made New Zealand a safer place."

Mr Garrett resigned from Parliament in 2010 when it was revealed that 25 years earlier, he had obtained a passport in the name of a dead baby.

Mr Boscawen made his comments at a public meeting in Remuera for the two leaderships contenders, Mr Boscawen and Jamie Whyte, and contenders for the Epsom candidacy, both of them and David Seymour.

The meeting was attended by about 100 people and was chaired by former Epsom MP and now Auckland Councillor Chris Fletcher.

It passed without incident with speeches from each. Mr Boscawen said he had called the meeting because he wanted Act supporters and Epsom voters to have a role in the process.

Sue Bradford had not turned up to protest so it had been worth the risk.

Mr Boscawen indicated that getting more partnership schools established would be a priority for him if he were leader, as would increasing the age of eligibility for superannuation.

He revealed that at an Act breakfast meeting in August last year, Prime Minister John Key had discussed the possibility of 100 more partnership schools from among the 3600 state schools. Five are set to open next week under the Act confidence and supply agreement.

Dr Whyte, a writer and former management consultant, made it clear he was going for both the leadership and the Epsom candidacy.

He said Act's "wiser old" heads had impressed upon him the risks of splitting the tole of leader and Epsom candidacy. Under MMP, the has to get an MP or five per cent of the vote to get into Parliament. Current leader and Epsom MP John Banks announced his resignation as leader and intention to retire at the election after being committed on a charge of filing a false electoral return.

The Act board will make the decision on both the leadership and Epsom candidacy on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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